The Citrus Heritage Run half marathon was one of the most scenic courses I have ever run. Oranges, lemons, tangerines, and grapefruit were all in season and ready to be picked. The smell of the citrus growing on the trees as I ran the course was extraordinary. The captivating views of the palm trees and mountains in the distance added to the alluring draw of this race course. The early morning cloud cover made the pre-race a chilly one, but absolutely perfect when the race started. The overcast course along with the small race size of 1,600 runners (capped at 2,000) made the hilly course one I truly appreciated.
I started the race off a little reserved. I didn’t want to burn out too quickly. About mile six I was feeling warm and decided to push myself just a bit. The course as I said was a bit hilly, but the climb was gradual, so it wasn’t too bad. Plus the amazing views around me kept my mind off the miles. As I was climbing up the inclines I kept telling myself, “you eat miles for breakfast.” This positive talk helped me push. So did focusing on a target ahead in the distance. Some targets are a stop signs, some are the motor cops along the course, and others are runners that are ahead of me. On the way down the hills I saw some water flowing down the street from the watering of the citrus trees. I thought to myself, “if the decline can carry the water it can carry me.” This mind-set allowed me to open up my gait some and push out of my comfort zone. The confidence continued to build as the miles were counting down. I started to believe that I just might set a new personal record. Well the course ran about .4 of a mile long so that added 4 minutes to my finish time. The official results are yet to be posted, but I remembered to pause my Garmin at 2:17:42. Bottom line I feel I totally rocked this race.
The Citrus Half finisher medal is the latest greatest one added to my collection. It is a beautiful orange slice that spins in the center. Yes, I know I’m silly when it comes to race medals. I really do love adding to my collection of runners bling. I proudly hang each new medal on my metal hanging rack in my middle school classroom. The hanging rack reads, “Never Limit Your Challenges…Challenge Your Limits” I also proudly pin-up each of my race bibs in the order that they were earned on each run. I see this as an opportunity to encourage my students to find something they are passionate about. Plus it is gratifying for me to reflect on all that I have accomplished.
I love participating in races that serve a good cause. I was so pleased to learn that all proceeds from the Citrus Heritage Run support Riverside-area student running programs and scholarships for local high school seniors. These proceeds also provide free running shoes to the local high school cross-country students, and scholarships for graduating seniors. Because of this I would love to add this run to my annual race schedule.
My race shirt collection is quickly growing. Some I enjoy wearing and some never make it out of my workout clothes drawer. I must say this half marathon race shirt will be one that will get weekly use on my early morning runs. It is a perfect v-neck, white long sleeve that will help to keep me visible and warm on my sunrise training runs. The orange blossoms on the sleeve left me feeling giddy about adding it to my assortment of race shirts.
As I was mentally getting ready to begin the race I found myself so excited when I saw the Back to the Future De Lorean driving to the start/finish line. Okay yes, I know this excitement really had nothing to do with the race, but this was one of my favorite movie trilogies of all time! The small movie details that were in the car like the hover board and the sports almanac were just so cool to see. I took full advantage of the opportunity and snapped away an assortment of pictures before the race started. I’m so glad I did because at the end of the race the car was roped off to keep people a distance away. Not only was the De Lorean on site but the Bat mobile was too. This didn’t excite me as much, but I still snapped a few pics to share.
The final highlight of the race for me was to meet a fellow active Instagram photo enthusiast @runningcontrail. Instagram runners I have found are very supportive and encouraging of fellow runners and the fitness active. Each race in the past year I have met different insta-friends who share my same crazy love of running and posting run related pics. The cheers of encouragement and inspiration have made it enjoyable to connect with fellow runners across the nation and around the world. Chatting with my “Sole Sister” about the race details and the shared passion of running brought lively smiles to both of our faces.
My race schedule is complete for the month of January. My days and weekend will now be booked with training runs as I continue to prepare for my February half marathon and full marathon in March. The long distance runs will climb up to 18, 20 and 22 miles. My mind is mentally set to go the distance, let’s see how my body holds up!